Washington Post Editor Says Texas Rangers Might As Well Be Called Texas Klansmen
Amid calls for sports teams to reassess those with mascots and names with strings attached to racism and hate, fans have seen teams such as the Washington Redskins abandon their longstanding “identities.”
Now it’s the Texas Rangers who are up to bat.
The American professional baseball team based out of Texas recently felt the ire of a Washington Post editor who called on the team to change their name.
Notably borrowed from the famous law enforcement agency of the same name, the Texas Rangers were established in 1961 as the Washington Senators but in 1971 after a multimillion-dollar buy out were moved to Arlington, Texas, and dubbed the Rangers.
Today, the mascots are celebrated and led by their mascot Rangers Captain, a palomino-style horse, who wears the team’s uniform. And while the team might have a history that spans back decades, it’s their name and mascot whose history appears to be much more troubling and problematic. In a recent opinion piece shared by the Washington Post, global opinions editor Karen Attiah called for a name-changing citing that “to know the full history of the Texas Rangers is to understand that the team’s name is not so far off from being called the Texas Klansmen.”
Speaking about the Rangers, Attiah claimed that she had been raised on “myths about Texas Rangers as brave and wholesome guardians of the Texas frontier.”
According to Attiah, who was raised in Dallas, Texas, “What we didn’t realize at the time was that the Rangers were a cruel, racist force when it came to the nonwhites who inhabited the beautiful and untamed Texas territory.”
In her op-ed, Attiah pointed out that the original Texas Rangers, who were established in 1835, had early assignments that were made “to clear the land of Indian[s] for white settlers.”
“That was just the start,” she went onto explain. “The Rangers oppressed black people, helping capture runaway slaves trying to escape to Mexico; in the aftermath of the Civil War, they killed free blacks with impunity.”
Citing the recently published book Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers by Doug Swanson, Attiah further underlined this point quoting that the job of the rangers in the force’s early days “was to seize and hold Texas for the white man.”
Renewed conversations about systemic racism and the passive ways in which we accept it as a society, were stirred up in the weeks following the death of George Floyd.
In response to calls for a change, the Washington Redskins announced on Monday that they would retire the team name and logo after years of protests.
Activists in Texas are now urging the Rangers to follow suit.
The team replied to recent requests in a statement to the Dallas Morning News, saying “While we may have originally taken our name from the law enforcement agency, since 1971, the Texas Rangers Baseball Club has forged its own, independent identity. The Texas Rangers Baseball Club stands for equality. We condemn racism, bigotry, and discrimination in all forms.”
In response to the team’s statement, Attiah called its owners to put their money where their mouth is replying “If the team ownership, as it proclaims, condemns ‘racism, bigotry, and discrimination in all forms,’ there is an easy way for it to prove that,” she wrote. “The Texas Rangers’ team name must go.”
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